With the Tennessee defense struggling more each week, head coach Derek Dooley has conceded that it is time to try something different to prepare for Missouri this weekend.
"There's some significant things that we're going to do this week that I hope will help," Dooley said. "I'm coming out of the offense room and putting all my attention on defense, just sitting in trying to create solutions."
The Vols (4-5, 0-5 SEC) surrendered a school worst 721 yards to Troy this past Saturday and were consistently unable to cover the Trojan wide receivers.
"When you play our style of defense sometimes it's going to put stress on some guys," said Dooley. "Sometimes it puts stress on the guys up front when they run the draw play, and sometimes it puts stress on the corners. We just aren't making the plays."
The coaching staff will try and take some pressure off the defense to see if they will produce more consistent play.
"It's just taking some of the pressure off," said Dooley. "Don't throw the fastball every time."
Sophomore defensive back Justin Coleman believes the team could move to more zone over the final three weeks to help alleviate some of the pressure on the cornerbacks.
"We're trying to play off a little bit so the ball doesn't get thrown over our head," Coleman said. "Playing man the cornerbacks feel like they're on an island a lot."
But communication continues to be an issue for the secondary.
"It's just us not getting the call and communicating with each other," said Coleman. "What we got to do is get the cornerback to look at the safeties and communicate with the linebackers so we can all be on the same page."
The secondary isn't the only defensive unit that is struggling in the eyes of the head coach; the defensive line isn't applying enough pressure on the quarterback to help the corners.
"We haven't been getting much pressure on the quarterback, and that has caused a lot of problems as the down gets stretched out," Dooley said.
After giving freshman Daniel Gray the nod at cornerback on Saturday, the coaching staff went back to redshirt senior Prentiss Waggner after Gray was beat down the field twice. There were discussions of moving the senior to safety, but with the team's struggles he will stay on the outside.
"There has been some discussion on stuff," said Dooley. "We put Daniel Gray in. Before we did that we said, 'let's see how we can do with moving another corner in there.' Dan competed hard but he gave up a lot of plays. We still need Prentiss at corner."
The Vols will have a week's worth of practice to correct their mistakes before the Tigers visit Neyland Stadium for the two teams' first ever meeting.
"They are playing great defense, they really are," Dooley said. "Big time defense. Look at them rankings-wise. Look what they did to Florida. They are a top 20 defense, and so we are going to see if our offense can go perform, which we have to this point."